Campaign for Real Ale wants to step in and support Portsmouth pubs

Camra's Martyn Constable is calling for pubs to get more support
Camra's Martyn Constable is calling for pubs to get more support
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Beer campaigners are stepping up the fight to protect local pubs in the Portsmouth area.

The local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale is seeking to put two venues on an ‘assets of community value’ list to stop them from being turned into shops.

Do we really need more supermarkets, more convenience stores and more housing? Pubs are used by local people and there is a real community feel about them.

Martyn Constable, member of the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale

Getting a place on the register gives pubs protection against developers and stops them from automatically being converted for other uses.

Currently, the law states locals can be changed into shops, supermarkets or betting shops without the need for any approval.

MPs have called for the list to be enhanced so pubs can only be turned into shops and supermarkets if planning permission is granted from a local authority.

The local Camra branch is not revealing the identities of the pubs they are in talks with as the agreement needs to be signed off with its headquarters in Hertfordshire.

But it’s a step forward for the local pub industry as concerns continue to mount over the future of community pubs.

Local Camra member Martyn Constable said the move is one of three initiatives the group wants to make in the pub this year.

The others could be launching another beer festival and raising greater awareness of local breweries.

Martyn said: ‘Do we really need more supermarkets, more convenience stores and more housing?

‘Pubs are used by local people and there is a real community feel about them.

‘A lot of older people go in and use them and speak to people they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

‘A lot of pubs raise money for children’s charities.

‘We are looking at registering pubs that have community value.

‘There are two pubs locally we have identified and we need to have a chat with Camra nationally about them.

‘It’s a new Camra initiative. At the moment, if you have a pub, you can turn it into a supermarket without the need for planning permission.

‘But if I have a supermarket and I want to turn it into a pub, I need planning permission.

‘Pubs are simply being shut down and being turned into convenience stores, and that’s not right.’

For a pub to get on a list of community value, a form with the names of at least 21 people needs to be sent to their local council explaining why it should be included.

Councillors would then decide if that particular pub is an integral part of the community and should be protected.

Landlords have already expressed the importance of enough people signing up to support their pubs.